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A Frog Under the TongueJewish Folk Medicine in Eastern Europe$
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Marek Tuszewicki

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764982

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764982.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 21 January 2022

The Evil Eye

The Evil Eye

(p.263) Chapter Thirteen The Evil Eye
A Frog Under the Tongue

Marek Tuszewicki

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the evil eye. The evil eye played a fundamental role in Jewish beliefs surrounding medicine. This denoted individuals who were in possession of eyes capable of casting spells, causing harm to others or damage to material objects, whether intentionally or not. An angry or jealous look spawned an evil angel and it was this angel that wreaked the damage attributed to the evil eye. In order not to cast a glance that might have magical consequences, one should turn one's gaze to heaven. Every sudden indisposition was attributed to the influence of the evil eye. Symptoms which were a sure sign that one had fallen victim to it were a high temperature, headache, yawning, stretching, and drowsiness, but the list was an open one, and could also include various types of swelling, convulsions, vomiting, or accidents such as bone fractures or sprains. The power of the evil eye came not so much from otherworldly sources as from the free will — or lack thereof — of the person inflicting it. Verbal attempts would be made to redirect the attention of the evil eye onto other objects, while guests and even people met on the street would be issued with warnings not to 'inflict the eye', to 'look at the lamp', or to 'count nine chimneys', otherwise their 'eyes would end up on the fifth house from here'. A considerable range of common apotropaics was in widespread use in traditional society.

Keywords:   evil eye, evil angel, Jewish beliefs, magical consequences, symptoms, apotropaics, Jewish medicine

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